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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2018-449
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2018-449
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 29 Jan 2019

Research article | 29 Jan 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG).

Global soil-climate-biome diagram: linking surface soil properties to climate and biota

Xia Zhao1, Yuanhe Yang1, Haihua Shen1, Xiaoqing Geng1, and Jingyun Fang1,2 Xia Zhao et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100093, China
  • 2College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, and Key Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes of the Ministry of Education, Peking University, Beijing, 100871, China

Abstract. Surface soils interact strongly with both climate and biota and provide fundamental ecosystem services that maintain food, climate, and human security. However, the quantitative linkages between soil properties, climate, and biota at the global scale remain unclear. By compiling a comprehensive global soil database, we mapped eight major soil properties (bulk density; clay, silt, and sand fractions; soil pH; soil organic carbon [SOC] density; soil total nitrogen [STN] density; and soil C : N mass ratios) in the surface (0–30 cm) soil layer based on machine learning algorithms, and demonstrated the quantitative linkages between surface soil properties, climate, and biota at the global scale (i.e., global soil-climate-biome diagram). On the diagram, bulk density increased significantly with higher mean annual temperature (MAT) and lower mean annual precipitation (MAP); soil clay fraction increased significantly with higher MAT and MAP; Soil pH decreased with higher MAP and lower MAT, and the critical MAP for the transition from alkaline to acidic soil decreased with decreasing MAT; SOC density and STN density both were jointly affected by MAT and MAP, showing an increase at lower MAT and a saturation tendency towards higher MAP. Surface soil physical and chemical properties also showed remarkable variations across biomes. The soil-climate-biome diagram suggests the co-evolution of the soil, climate, and biota under global environmental change.

Xia Zhao et al.
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Status: final response (author comments only)
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Xia Zhao et al.
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Short summary
Despite significant progress in digital soil mapping techniques and the rapid increase in observed soil information, quantitative linkages between soil, climate and biota remain unclear at global scale. By compiling a large global soil database, we mapped eight major soil properties based on machine learning algorithms and developed a global soil-climate-biome diagram. Our results suggest a co-evolution of soil, climate and biota under global environmental change.
Despite significant progress in digital soil mapping techniques and the rapid increase in...
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